DouglasCorr Posted July 30, 2007 Share Posted July 30, 2007 I have always found Buxtehude's Passacaglia in d min an interesting, beautiful, but mysterious piece. It seemed to lack any obvious development; however it has a strict structure. There are 4 sections in which the pedal theme is repeated 7 times in each; and there are short transposing interludes between each section. The first section is a melancholic void; the second, in a major key, just slightly optimistic; the third majestic and the final section a rather sad goodbye. At the St Albans Organ Festival Lodger Lohmann introduced the pieces at his recital, which included the Buxtehude passacaglia. He said that Piet Kee had told him that he thought the composition might have been influenced by the astronomical clock in the Totentanz Chapel at St Mary's Lubeck - because, in total, the pedal theme enters 28 times! But what he didn't suggest is the obvious idea (once one has made the connection to astronomical clocks) that the four sections correspond to the phases of the moon, as I suggest below! First: New moon d min Second: Waxing first quarter F maj Third: Full Moon a min Forth: Waning third quarter d min This would seem to me to go a long way to explaining why the piece is the way it is, and how the third section would appear to be the climax! The forth section doesn't need to reach a real conclusion, as the lunar cycle will simply repeat again! There should therefore be no temptation to play the conclusion loudly, as is the norm! Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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